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PetaLinux is brand name used by Xilinx, it is based on Yocto and pretty decent mainstream kernel, what Petalinux adds is the HSI (Hardware Software Interface from Vivado) and special tools for boot image creation.

Table of Content



Getting Linux working on Zynq is very simple, following steps are required

  1. Vivado/SDK/PetaLinux 2015.4 installed (important do not mix versions!)
  2. Create Vivado Project, configure PS, Export HDF
  3. Ceate new PetaLinux project
  4. Import HDF into project
  5. petalinux-build
  6. copy boot.bin and image.ub to SD Card (only 2 files no more)

This is generic how-to, everything is setup for your by the Vivado->PetaLinux flow. Note, the boot.bin generated by PetaLinux may not always work, in such case it is recommended to make the boot.bin with SDK-GUI or command line tools manually.

There is no need to install anything else, or to fetch anything from any github repos, etc.


PetaLinux Installation

  • Download PetaLinux  from Xilinx Website:
    • Choose  a PetaLinux Version, that's corresponding to the installed Vivado and SDK Version.
      • Example: Use Vivado 2015.4 with SDK 2015.4 and PetaLinux 2015.4
  • Use UG1144 "PetaLinux Tools Documentation - Reference Guide" that's corresponding with your PetaLinux Version
    1. Check "PetaLinux Tools Installation Requirements" chapter and install missing tool/libraries
    2. Use installation instructions from chapter "PetaLinux Tools Installation Steps"
  • Note:
    • There is no need to install anything else, or to fetch anything from any github repos, etc.
    • It is recommended to test the installation by creating a dummy template project and building it.
      • Download BSP Example from Xilinx Website
      • Install:$ petalinux-create -t project -s <path-to-bsp>
      • Build: $ petalinux-build


Creating a Project from Vivado Project

  • PetaLinux Working Environment (see UG1144)
    • PetaLinux Tools Installation is completed.
    • "/bin/sh" is bash
    • Set Working Environment:
      • $ source <path-to-installed-PetaLinux>/
    • Set cross compiler:
      • $ export CROSS_COMPILE=arm-xilinx-linux-gnueabi-
      • $ export ARCH=arm
  • Create a New Project (see UG1144):
    • $ petalinux-create --type project --template <CPU_TYPE> --name <PROJECT_NAME>
      • <CPU_TYPE>: zynqMP, zynq, microblaze
      • <PROJECT_NAME>:The name of the project you are building
  • Import Hardware Configuration (see UG1144):
    • Export Hardware Definition File (*.hdf) from the Vivado Project into the PetaLinux subfolder "<plnx-proj-root>/hw-description":
      • change to the hardware description folder:
      • Run:$ petalinux-config --get-hw-description
  • (optional) Configure your PetaLinux:
    • While anywhere in the project folder tree:
    • Run:$ petalinux-config
      • It's recommended to deactivate FSBL-Configuration and build FSBL and Boot.bin with SDK/HSI: "linux Components Selection --->" "[ ] First Stage Bootloader"
  • Build System Image (see UG1144):
    • While anywhere in the project folder tree:
    • Run:$ petalinux-build
    • Build log-file:"<plnx-proj-root>/build/build.log"
  • Take u-boot.elf and image.ub from "<plnx-proj-root>/images/linux" and make BOOT.BIN.  It is recommended to create the FSBL with SDK/HSI tools.

Petalinux Configuration

Most settings can be changed with menu-config ($ petalinux-config).

There are 3 more files that user can edit, they are

system-top.dtsDevice tree changes are to be applied here
platform-top.hU-boot changes are to be applied here
fsbl_hooks.cFSBL changes are to be applied here

There should be no reason to modify any other files by editing them (most of them are generated and would be overwritten).


  1. PetaLinux Tools Documentation - Reference Guide (UG1144)
  2. PetaLinux Tools Documentation - PetaLinux Command Line Reference (UG1157)


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